The following are a few examples of how Room40 helps nonprofits improve, grow, and change.

CASE STUDIES

City Year

Helping a national nonprofit improve how it allocates, shares, and manages shared service costs

Challenge: City Year is a $150-million national organization focused on helping students stay in school and on track to succeed. The organization operates in 25 cities, and plans to continue to grow to serve more students in more cities. City Year was in the midst of transforming its headquarters site support, requiring a change in how the network shared the cost of those services.

The CFO recognized that the final selection would be complex, requiring input, involvement and buy in from the national leadership team, board of directors, and local site leadership. At the same time, the CFO was overseeing an enterprise-wide technology implementation and managing the daily financial operations of a $150M organization—a very full plate.

Solution: Room40 worked with City Year to provide an infusion of short-term, executive bandwidth to support the CFO in making the final decision, and helping to support the implementation, phasing, and change management. As a result, the organization is now able to:

  • better communicate shared support costs by type, per unit, and in total to the Board, and sites
  • more equitably distribute shared support costs to sites of different size, scale, and need
  • more tightly manage shared support costs by service, function, and as a portfolio

Results: The Funds Flow decision and implementation plan was endorsed unanimously by the board of directors, finance, and site program committees and is now being executed. The new model is generating data that continues to support actionable insights for the City Year team.

Cradles to Crayons

Making a growth plan a reality

Challenge: Cradles to Crayons provides children living in homeless or low-income situations essential items they need to thrive. With operations up and running in Boston and Philadelphia, Cradles worked with a major consulting firm to craft a multi-year expansion plan that includes five new sites in the next few years. The CEO recognized that implementing the expansion plan would require more bandwidth than she and her national team of one could provide as they also focused on daily operations of a $7M organization.

Solution: Room40 worked closely with senior leadership, national and local boards, and executive director to structure the most critical and time-sensitive growth decisions outlined in the plan.

  • Remain a single 501(c)(3) with branch operations
  • Define the governance/decision roles and processes for boards and local leadership, including fiduciary oversight
  • Set core economic principles and policies to guide resource allocation
  • Design the vision, services, staff, and systems for the national office
  • Apply practical knowhow and better practices to help Cradles adopt and implement the new structures

Results: The decisions were adopted unanimously by the board of directors and are being executed with the opening of a third site in Chicago. Cradles to Crayons is also building a national team and related services in finance, technology, marketing, and human resources.

IAALS

Quickly launching from pilot project to independent network

Challenge: The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) is a national, independent research center dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system. Before working with the Room40 Group, IAALS had launched a very successful pilot program that supports the needs of separating and divorcing families. The success of this program created two new challenges: First, to establish a new, self-sustaining nonprofit to scale the pilot program. And second, to create a national network that could encourage and support the replications of new programs across the country.

The Executive Director of IAALS recognized that these two challenges would require skills and experience in launching and scaling multi-site organizations that her organization didn’t have. In addition, her team needed to spend time ensuring the success of the Institute’s other projects and operations.

Solution: Room40 worked with IAALS to understand the challenges, analyze and model different solutions, and identify the legal, economic and organizational structure that would best position the new organization for success. We also established an initial concept plan for a national umbrella organization and expansion, when conditions are right.

  • Identify the best legal structure for the new entities
  • Clarify a set of economic and operating decisions that would best drive program growth
  • Define the governance/decision roles for IAALS, the national organization, and local centers
  • Design the vision, services, staff, and systems for the national office
  • Apply practical knowhow and better practices to help IAALs implement the plan: secure buy-in and financial support of key stakeholders, launch marketing and visual identity, recruit and select staff and board

Results: IAALS is moving forward with execution by launching an independent entity in the fall of 2015. They have hired an Executive Director of the Denver-based center and plan to incubate and launch the national organization in the months ahead.

CLIENTS

The Achievement Network (ANET)
Blueprint Schools
Bottom Line
Braven
The Bridgespan Group
Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)
CCS Fundraising
Center for Out of Court Divorce (COCD)
Ceres
Citizen Schools
City Year
CollegeSpring
Cradles To Crayons
Facing History & Ourselves
Food Corps
GreenLight Fund
Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP)
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS)
Invest in Kids (IIK)
ioby
LIFT
New Sector Alliance
The Nonprofit Finance Fund
OneGoal
Public Equity Group
Spark
Summer Search
The Surge Institute
Year Up
YMCA of the USA